Seattle ranks No. 4 as destination city for millennials drawn by opportunity

Tracking millennial migration helps identify where young people see opportunity. (We previously wrote about millennials as bellwethers.) 

Seattle ranks high on the list – 4th most popular metro in the nation – and, surprisingly it is the only city west of the Rockies to finish in the top 10.

Andrew Woo, reporting for Apartment List, writes,

Among 50 large metropolitan areas, Charlotte, Houston, and Austin saw the most growth. 8 out of the top 10 large metros for millennial population growth were located away from the coasts. The biggest declines, however, happened in the Midwest and South – Detroit, Miami, and Phoenix, for example. These movements appear to be correlated with income growth in these cities.

Homeownership, on the other hand, appears to be driven by a combination of wage growth and affordable housing.

Despite the Seattle region’s affordability challenges, it remains a popular location for migration because of the strong local economy.

Unsurprisingly, millennials are attracted by strong job markets. Houston, Austin, and Seattle, metros that saw significant millennial population growth, also had significant income growth. Detroit, Riverside, and Atlanta, on the other hand, actually saw inflation-adjusted incomes decline, and millennials moved away as a result.

The tech economy, of course, provides both a strong lure for educated millennials and offers the high-wage jobs necessary to navigate successfully the region’s housing markets. That’s one reason a clear appraisal of the risks and opportunities to the regional economy matters.